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WJLA, February 29, 2012

Rare Disease Day: 10 rare diseases and their symptoms

A disease is considered rare if it affects less than 200,000 Americans. According to NIH, there are 6,800 such diseases affecting nearly 30 million people. Feb. 29 is Rare Disease Day, which aims to increase awareness about these conditions. 

Huntington's Disease

The folk musician Woody Guthrie suffered from Huntington's disease, a rare genetic disorder with symptoms like chorea (jerky, uncontrollable movements), abnormal facial expressions, and difficulty chewing and swallowing. As the disease progresses, the ability to plan and think abstractly are impaired along with memory. For some, the most distressing symptoms include increase anxiety, depression, aggression and other compulsive behaviors.